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(From Old Corral collection)
 
On the trail
of Buck Jones
and family


Last updated:
December 18, 2020


1984 photo of Larry Imber and Dell Jones, Buck's widow, at her California home ... decorated with all the photos and paintings of Buck.

Buck and Odille Dorothy Osborne were married August 11, 1915 in Lima, Ohio.

Dell Jones passed away on April 16, 1996 at the age of 95.

(Courtesy of Larry Imber)


His birth date - we'll never know for sure. But it's probably December 12, 1891.

Why no luck in finding some official birth paperwork on Buck Jones? Lots of reasons. Indiana didn't start registering births at the state level until 1907. Birth records prior to that were left to local government entities to record ... or not. He could have been birthed at home, rather than a hospital. Ancestry.com had the 1888 and 1898 city directories for Vincennes, Indiana - no luck finding Buck's father in either. Not unexpected as the family may have lived outside the Vincennes, Indiana city/town limits.

Too bad the 1890 census is unavailable - it was lost in a 1921 fire (and water damage) at the Commerce Building in Washington, D.C.

Didn't find any birth records on Buck's sister Ada who was born circa 1889.

1891 is generally accepted as Buck's birth year. However, in the tidbits on this webpage, you'll find December 12, 1891, 1892, 1893, and 1894. And to confuse us even more, some trade publications and newspapers have December 4, 1889 or 1894.

Further down this webpage are the marriage license and application for Buck and Dell's 1915 wedding in Lima, Ohio. The paperwork notes that Buck was "23 years of age on the 12th day of December 1914.". The duration between December 12, 1891 and December 12, 1914 is 23 years. That seems to confirm Jones' birth date as December 12, 1891.

I did find a trace or two of the family in Vincennes, Indiana newspapers at the Knox County, Indiana library. Buck's mother was Eva / Evelyn Showers. From the April 3, 1891 The Western Sun (Vincennes, Indiana) newspaper - excerpt: "Judge David Showers of Ft. Wayne is visiting his daughter, Mrs. Fred Gebbard, on north seventh street ..." - click: HERE for the article.

Lastly - a caution for anyone who does newspaper searches for Buck's father Charles Fred Gebhard / Gebhart in the 1880s - early 1900s. There's a Fred Gebhard (1860 - 1910) who was a member of New York society, into horse racing, and was the love interest or manager of actress Lillie Langtry. Searching Indiana newspapers for Buck Jones' father turns up lots of matches of that New York Fred Gebhard since those papers had columns covering society news.


Buck Jones - census, military, draft registrations, daughter Maxine, more ... and surname variations of Gebhart, Gebhard, Gebbard, Gebbart, and Gebhardt.

  • Ancestry.com had a 1907 U. S. Army Enlistment register for Charles F. Gebhart. Is difficult to read due to the handwriting and abbreviations. He's 18 years old (a tall story given his purported 1891 birth year - if 1891 is correct, he would have been 16 years of age when he enlisted). He's 5 feet, 7 inches tall; born in Vincennes, Indiana; occupation "tin worker"; enlisted January 8, 1907 in Ohio; assigned to the 6th Regiment, United States Cavalry; and honorably discharged as a Private on December 20, 1909 at Fort McDowell, California.
  • 1910 census summary and census takers worksheet - 19 year old Charles J. Gebhard (born Indiana; single; occupation "Laborer automobile") is one of many lodgers residing at the Lincoln Hotel, 311 North Illinois Street, Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana. Also living at the Hotel - and on this same census sheet - are 31 year old Earnest [sic] McCammon (born Indiana) and 36 year old wife Eva (formerly Evelyn / Eva Showers, Buck's mother, who was divorced and re-married; she was born in Indiana about 1874). Buck's sister Ada is also living in Indianapolis. She married William Mendell in 1907, and had a daughter - more on Ada further down this webpage: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MKPR-YX6
  • Charles F. Gebhart and Odille 'Dell' Osborne were married August 11, 1915 in Lima, Ohio and both were performers with the Julia Allen Wild West Show. See licenses and applications further down this webpage.
  • Family Search has a summary record of the marriage of Fred Gebhart and Odille D. Osborne. They were married in Allen County, Ohio on August 11, 1915. His parents were Charles F. Gebhart and Eva Showers. Her parents were John Osborn and Daisy Baker: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XDWP-GM6
  • World War I draft registration dated May 18, 1917 for 24 year old Charles Fred Gebhart, born December 12, 1893 in Vincennes, Indiana. He was married and living in Indianapolis, Indiana. Occupation was "Auto Mechanic", employer was Ringling Bros Circus, and 'where employed' was 'En Route'. He lists six years military experience as a Sergeant in the Cavalry and Aviation, and under conditions or characteristics, "Shot in leg in service." is shown: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KZ2M-VG6
  • Birth certificate for an un-named female child born February 9, 1918 at Pacific Hospital, Los Angeles. Her surname is shown as Gebbard. Parents were 26 year old Charles F. Gebbart (born Indianapolis, Indiana; occupation "Automobile Mechanic") and 19 year old Odille Osborne (born New York City; occupation "Housewife"). They live at 2246 Ivanhoe Avenue, Edendale, California. This is Buck and Dell's only child, Maxine Evelyn Jones: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QGL4-SHW4
  • 1920 census summary and census takers worksheet - difficult to read their last name and Family Search has it as "Gilbert". Renting at 2220 Clifford Street, Los Angeles are 28 year old Charles F. Gilbert [sic] (born Indiana; occupation "Actor - Motion Picture"), his 20 year old wife Odelle [sic] (born New York) and almost two year old daughter Maxine (born California): https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MHQX-QGV
  • 1930 census summary and census takers worksheet - owning their home at 1425 North Hayworth Avenue, Beverly Hills, California are 37 year old Buck C. Jones (born Indiana; occupation "Actor - Moving Pictures"), his 29 year old wife Odille D. (born New York; occupation "Actress - Circus"), and 12 year old daughter Maxine E. (born California). Jones identifies himself as a military veteran with service in the Phillipines: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XCFF-CJY
  • United Press and other syndicated newspaper services covered Buck's official name change. He filed for the name change in May, 1937 and his request was granted in July, 1937: "Hollywood, July 6 (1937) - Charles Frederick Gebhard is no more today. He's Charles Buck Jones. The cowboy film star adopted the name he is best known by legally in Superior Court. Buck Jones said he has been known by his film name the last 15 years. Judge Emmet Wilson granted the plea."
  • 1940 census summary and census takers worksheet - 44 year old Charles Jones (born Indiana; occupation "Actor - Motion Pictures") and 39 year old wife Odille (born New York), own their home at 14050 Magnolia, Los Angeles. They also have three servants living there. In 1939, Jones worked 5 weeks and earned $5,000.00+: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K9HK-JCJ
  • Ancestry.com had the World War II draft registration dated April 27, 1942 for 48 year old Charles Buck Jones. He was born December 12, 1894 in Vincennes, Indiana. He lives at 14050 Magnolia, Van Nuys, California. He is 6 feet tall and weighs 185 pounds. Employer is Monegram [sic] Studios, Hollywood. Contact is Mrs. Noah Beery Jr. (his daughter Maxine Jones), and she also resides at that 14050 Magnolia, Van Nuys address. And under conditions or characteristics, "Shot thru left leg." is shown.
  • December 1, 1942 Film Daily had front page coverage of the November 28, 1942 Cocoanut Grove fire: "At least 20 Film People Lost in Night Club Disaster" ; "Buck Jones' Burns Fatal" ; "Jones ... died at 4:35 yesterday afternoon (November 30, 1942)"
  • Many trade publications covered Buck's funeral on December 7, 1942. From the December 7, 1942 Motion Picture Daily: "Funeral services for Charles (Buck) Jones, who died as a result of burns suffered in the Cocoanut Grove fire in Boston will be held today ... in the chapel of Bresee Bros.& Gillette. Honorary pallbearers will be W. Ray Johnston, Trem Carr, Charles J. Bigelow, Austin C. Sherman, Dr. Donald Cass, Leslie [sic] Selander, George Moyer, Dr. C. D. Dickey, V. McCollum and W. S. Van Dyke."
  • December 5, 1942 Los Angeles Times newspaper had a funeral notice - excerpt: "The actor leaves his widow, Mrs. Odelle [sic] Jones, a daughter, Mrs. Maxine Beery, wife of Noah Beery Jr., his mother, Mrs. E. McCammon, and a sister, Mrs. Walter Mendell.": https://www.newspapers.com/clip/65241532/the-los-angeles-times/
  • December 8, 1942 Los Angeles Times newspaper reported on Buck's funeral: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/65239820/the-los-angeles-times/
  • Los Angeles, Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery/Crematory Records note that Jones was cremated and Bresee Bros. and Gillette, Los Angeles was the funeral director:
    https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:8CC9-5P2M
    https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:D9BW-FBW2
  • Find A Grave website notes that Jones was cremated and ashes scattered: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/8101/buck-jones
    Odille Dorothy 'Dell' Osborne Jones (1901 - 1996) was cremated and ashes scattered: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/213337398/odille-dorothy-jones
    Find A Grave also has info on the Cocoanut Grove Memorial in Boston: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/6532185/cocoanut_grove_nightclub_fire_memorial

More newspaper clippings on Buck's death and funeral. Initial plans were for his cremains to be interred in Vincennes, Indiana. That didn't happen:
https://www.newspapers.com/clip/63852548/buck-jones-death-from-burns-in-the/
https://www.newspapers.com/clip/65241721/buck-jones-funeral-arrangements/
https://www.newspapers.com/clip/65240435/chico-record/
https://www.newspapers.com/clip/65239820/the-los-angeles-times/
https://www.newspapers.com/clip/65239566/oakland-tribune/


Buck's sister Ada (1889 - 1980) lived most of her life in Indianapolis.
  • 1910 census summary and census takers worksheet - 20 year old Ada Mendell (born Indiana), her 21 year old husband Walter (born Kentucky), two year old daughter Walada, and two lodgers are residing in Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MKPT-WFM
  • 1920 census summary and census takers worksheet - Buck's sister Ada and her husband and children are living with her mother and step-father in Indianapolis. The family consists of 41 year old Ernest McCammon (born Indiana; occupation "Commercial Salesman - Woolen Ware"), his 45 year old wife Eva (born Indiana), 30 year old daughter Adah [sic] Mendell (born Indiana), her 32 year old husband Walter Mendell (born Kentucky), and their two daughters, 11 year old daughter Valada [sic] and newborn daughter Betty Ann. Ernest McCammon is the head of household and renting at 230 East North Street, Indianapolis, Indiana: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MFW5-3HP
  • March 19, 1927 Orange County, California marriage license of Peter Joseph Brennan to Walada Elva Mendell. Her parents were Walter Mendell and Ada Gebhardt: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K8F4-Y6L
  • 1930 census summary and census takers worksheet - still living in Indianapolis, Indiana are 41 year old Ada Mendell (born Indiana), 42 year old husband Walter (born Kentucky), and 10 year old daughter Betty (born Indiana): https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X4YX-FQQ
  • 1940 census summary and census takers worksheet - still living in Indianapolis, Indiana are 51 year old Ada Mendell and 52 year old husband Walter: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V11K-4M1
  • Newspaper death notice on Ada Mendell who passed away on April 16, 1980: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/64872795/ada-mendell-sister-of-western-movie/
  • Find A Grave website has a photo of the marker for Buck's sister, Ada I. Mendell (1889 - 1980) and husband Walter (1888 - 1962) who are interred at Greenwood Cemetery, Greenwood, Johnson County, Indiana: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/41801593/ada-i.-mendell


Buck's mother was Eva R. Showers (1874 - 1954). She remarried and became Eva McCammon. Some family trees on Ancestry.com have her full name as Evelyn Retta Showers.
  • The Knox County, Indiana library has many old newspapers for Vincennes, Indiana. From the April 3, 1891 The Western Sun (Vincennes, Indiana) newspaper - excerpt: "Judge David Showers of Ft. Wayne is visiting his daughter, Mrs. Fred Gebbard, on north seventh street ..." - click : HERE for the article.
  • 1910 - census summary and census takers worksheet - living at the Lincoln Hotel, 311 North Illinois Street, Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana are 31 year old Earnest [sic] McCammon (born Indiana; occupation "Traveling Salesman") and his 36 year old wife Eva (born Indiana). They had been married for six years. Also renting at that hotel is Eva's 19 year old son Charles J. Gebhard (born Indiana; single; occupation "Laborer automobile"), and he is also listed on that census sheet: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MKPR-YFC
  • World War I draft registration for 39 year old Ernest McCammon (born 1879; occupation "Traveling Salesman - Ault Woolen Ware Company"). He and wife Eva McCammon live at 230 East North, Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:7DS5-XTW2
  • 1920 census summary and census takers worksheet - Buck's sister Ada and her husband and children are living with her mother and step-father in Indianapolis. The family consists of 41 year old Ernest McCammon (born Indiana; occupation "Commercial Salesman - Woolen Ware"), his 45 year old wife Eva (born Indiana), 30 year old daughter Adah [sic] Mendell (born Indiana), her 32 year old husband Walter Mendell (born Kentucky), and their two daughters, 11 year old daughter Valada [sic] and newborn daughter Betty Ann. McCammon is the head of household and is renting at 230 East North Street, Indianapolis, Indiana: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MFW5-3HP
  • 1940 census summary and census takers worksheet - Buck's mother and stepfather are living in Los Angeles. Renting at 12 North Wilcox Avenue, Los Angeles, California are 59 year old Ernest McCammon (born Indiana; occupation "Salesman - Paper company") and his 53 year old wife Eva (born Indiana). Methinks her age of 53 is an error. Eva would be in her mid sixties: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K9C6-CPJ
  • October 28, 1954 death notices of 80 year old Eva R. McCammon, Buck Jones' mother, who passed away at a nursing home in Indianapolis, Indiana:
    https://www.newspapers.com/clip/778121/the-tipton-daily-tribune/
    https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/1954-10-28/ed-1/seq-32/
  • Find A Grave website has a photo of the marker for Buck's mother, Eva R. McCammon (1874 - 1954) and stepfather, Ernest McCammon (1879 - 1949), who are interred at Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/45967085/eva-r.-mccammon


Charles F. Gebhart and Odille 'Dell' Osborne were married August 11, 1915 in Lima, Ohio and both were performers with the Julia Allen Wild West Show.

In December, 2007, Denny Linser came to the rescue - he obtained copies of the marriage documents for Buck Jones and Dell Osborne, and those are scanned below. Thanks Denny!


Below is the Application for Marriage License, dated August 9, 1915, for Charles F. Gebhart and Odille D. Osborn / Osborne.


(Document courtesy of Denny Linser)



Below is a slightly larger version of Buck's info from the Application above. It shows his name as Charles F. Gebhart, his father as Fred Gebhart, and his mother's maiden name as Eva Showers. It lists Indianapolis, Indiana as his place of birth and his occupation is "Rider" (as Buck and Dell were both working at the time for the Julia Allen Wild West Show).

It also shows that Buck was "23 years of age on the 12th day of December 1914.". The duration between December 12, 1891 and December 12, 1914 is 23 years. That confirms Jones' date of birth as December 12, 1891.





Below is the Marriage Record noting that they tied the knot on August 11, 1915 in Lima, Ohio (notation in the bottom right showing "at Lima, O.")


(Document courtesy of Denny Linser)



Marriage Certificate noting the Lima, Ohio location and signed by the Justice of the Peace.


(Document courtesy of Denny Linser)



The only confusion ye Old Corral webmeister has with the above three documents is with the spelling of Dell Jones' maiden name. Is it Osborn or Osborne as both spellings are shown in these documents. But check the signature section in the top Application for Marriage License, and it confirms that Dell signed as Osborne (with an "e" at the end).

Newspaper clipping on their wedding: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/65530109/the-lima-gazette-and-the-lima-republican/


"Buck Jones Wild West and Round Up Days" circus ... his 1930 bankruptcy ... his 1939 lawsuit against Republic Pictures and the Lone Ranger ... 1937 legal name change ... Buck and Dell's large home in Sherman Oaks, California


Newspaper clippings on Buck's his short-lived "Wild West Shows and Roundup Days" in 1929 and his 1930 bankruptcy:
https://www.newspapers.com/clip/65007147/western-movie-star-buck-jones-has-debts/
https://www.newspapers.com/clip/65006540/western-movie-actor-buck-jones-is/
https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82015313/1929-07-13/ed-1/seq-7/
https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82015313/1929-07-15/ed-1/seq-12/

The Circus Historical Society used to have many of their Bandwagon magazine articles online. But their updated website does not have the articles. However, the Wayback Machine at the Internet Archive does have the November, 1965 article by circus expert Fred D. Pfening Jr. on the short-lived "Buck Jones Wild West and Round Up Days": https://web.archive.org/web/20150415121736/http://www.circushistory.org/Bandwagon/bw-1965Nov.htm

The William P. Hall farm in Lancaster, Missouri, became a "boneyard" of old circus wagons and railroad cars. Newspapers at the Library of Congress have more on the boneyard including a large photo of railroad sleeping cars from the short-lived "Buck Jones' Wild West Shows and Round Up Days":
https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/1932-08-28/ed-1/seq-73/
https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/1932-08-28/ed-1/seq-77/

Newspaper clippings on Buck's 1939 lawsuit against Republic Pictures and their LONE RANGER serial. His lawsuit was thrown out:
https://www.newspapers.com/clip/65001391/buck-jones-lawsuit-against-republic/
https://www.newspapers.com/clip/65001624/buck-jones-loses-his-lawsuit-against/

1937 newspaper clipping on Buck's legal name change from Charles Frederick Gebhard to Charles Buck Jones: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/65001854/the-los-angeles-times/

Alan Simon has created a website about the Mar-Ken School in Sherman Oaks, California. For a time, the school was located at 14050 Magnolia Boulevard in Sherman Oaks, the former home of Buck and Dell Jones. The main house, a barn and an out-building were demolished in March, 1980 to make way for the enormous apartment (condo) complex. There's photos and lots of details on Buck Jones' house, some facts about Buck and Dell, and a history of the school at: http://www.mar-ken.org/history/joneshouse.html

The Los Angeles Public Library Digital Collections has a photo of Buck Jones' Spanish style home at 14050 Magnolia Avenue, on the southeast corner at Hazeltine Avenue, in Sherman Oaks, California. The home was demolished in 1980: https://tessa.lapl.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/photos/id/2268/rec/2


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